Heliograph

With my hands I measure
the space around my heart

whenever I feel those moments
of ambush— when in great anxiety,

in fright or terror or sorrow
the spirit flutters from me

like a thin silk flag, like a covey
of birds in the bush. Where does it go

in the ticking seconds just after,
before someone remembers how to call

for its return? The sun is a disc
in burning fragments, and water

its liquid twin. High on the cliffs,
I know our dead sit in their library

of hanging coffins. Their bones are lighter
than husk, but not yet lighter than air. Like them

I am trying to learn to keep something back
even in passage: some thread to tether

the wrist to the doorpost, the belled sound
of a name to pierce the fog of distress.

 

In response to Via Negativa: Heart to heart.

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